The following is compiled from records of the lodge, personal letters and various publications and documents from 1808 through 1896. Although lenghty and detailed, it and other referenced material available here provide valuable material for the research of Provincetown's history, the New England whaling industry, the Civil War, Cape Cod's Lifesaving Stations and Masonry's important involvement. We hope to eventually provide all of King Hiram's extensive archives at this site for the serious historian including scans of rare documents and photos. Any and all requests and suggestions will be welcome.
8/22/1808 Charter member Solomon Cook, presiding Master Orasmus Thomas and Daniel Pease (Master of King Hiram's Lodge 1812-1814) are appointed a committee by the selectmen of Provincetown to draft a petition to President Thomas Jefferson to protest the shipping embargo. It was presented and signed by Orasmus Thomas as Provincetown Town Clerk.
The Embargo, followed by the Non-Intercourse Act against Great Britain and France were regarded as necessary measures to prevent the seizure of American ships and the impressment into service of its crew by foreign powers. Provincetown vessels fared worse than being captured as a result, the ocean fisheries were abandoned and dismantled ships rotted at their wharves. After the declaration of war on 6/18/1811, British men-o-war surrounded Cape Cod with H.M.S. MAJESTIC making her base at anchor between Provincetown and Truro. It used the old mill on Mill Hill as artillery practice. The people in Provincetown usually preferred the eastern part of town while this occurred*.(* Shebnah Rich) At the same time however, some people actually benefitted by the British presence in Provincetown. Many fortunes had their foundations in privateering (See whaling vessel POLLY; Jonathan Cook captain) and the liberal payment of British gold for food, stores and other provisions. Regardless, most people still kept their livestock in the woods in fear that it would be carried off by the "bargemen", as was the case on Martha's Vineyard. By May of 1814 the H.M.S. NYMPHE was constantly engaged in the waters of Cape Cod boarding and searching any vessel it could catch. Those found containing government stores or arms were burned, the others were fitted out as tenders to the frigate or ransomed to their owners at high prices. On 7/9/1814 the selectmen of Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown were received aboard the NYMPHE, where they reluctantly agreed to supply stores at the market price (beef 7d / lb.). Water casks had to be rafted out to the frigate by schooners in Provincetown harbor, because of the 12 - 14 ' rise in the tide. On 7/27/1814 Lt. Henry Edward Napier of the NYMPHE frigate recorded in his journal "Provincetown formerly famous for whaling, now completely cut-off from all trade and at the mercy of any person."
10/3/1848 Odd Fellows Hall - Barzallai Higgins as Master. Secretary Godfrey Ryder Jr. informs Lodge " that by request of Grand Lodge he had given up the new charter of King Hiram's Lodge and taken the old and former charter " Voted to accept the old charter as handed to Godfrey Ryder Jr. Secretary informs the Master that Br. Jeremiah Stone is not a member of King Hiram's Lodge "From which quite a debate ensued from its members." Lodge was closed in due form, but not in harmony. The last four words are ordered to be stricken from the records at the communication of 10/9/1848 by D.D.G.M. Waterman Crocker who was acting as Senior Warden at that meeting.
10/28/1848 Lodge attends funeral of Br. Daniel Smith, original charter member in 1795.
11/6/1848 Annual meeting and election of officers. After several nominations and declines for the slate of officers, Godfrey Ryder is elected Master. Voted that " Steward's jewels and collars in the new pattern be procured."
11/20/1848 Extracts from an address delivered at Vicksburg by Br. Jeremiah Stone.
12/25/1848 Christmas Day. Lodge met and opened at Odd Fellows Hall agreeable to a call from the officers. Br. Lewis Sellew proposes Elisha Paine Jr. of Truro, age 26, occupation - mariner as a candidate and asks a dispensation from the D.D.G.M. to ballot, initiate, craft and raise him in less time than the law requires. Elisha Paine was balloted for and accepted and the dispensation granted. He received all three degrees on December 26, 1848. Elisha Paine's father was a member of King Hiram's Lodge, he was captain of the vessel REFORM in the October Gale of 1841. All hands being fastened below in the cabin, Paine went up on deck to put a drag out to keep head to the wind. Soon after a terrific sea capsized the ship, rolling it completely over until it came upright again. Two crew members crawled out on the deck to discover that the masts were gone, and the hawser of the drag was wound around the bowsprit. Elisha Paine had been washed away during the incident.
1/15/1849 Joshua E. Bowley aceepted as a candidate. J.E. Bowley was a shipbuilder and underwriter in Provincetown.
2/22/1849 Public procession and dinner at Mr. Fuller's guests include Marine Lodge I.O.O.F., Mayflower Division of the Sons of Temperence and the pilot of the R.C. HAMILTON "He being a Mason."
2/26/1849 Reports of commitee to build hall. Vote to procure subscriptions and get the stock taken up torwards building a hall to be known as Union Hall.
3/17/1849 Lodge attends funeral of Br. Henry Ryder lost at sea with his son Thomas Lee Ryder. Their remains are returned to Provincetown a week later and were buried in the same grave with Masonic Ceremony.
8/20/1849 Lodge meets at Hilliard Johnson and Co. wharf to attend funeral of Eldredge Smith. They took passage to the deceased's home at Long Point by boat where an exhortation and prayer were delivered. After which the procession proceeded to this side by sailboats. The procession moved to the place of internment where he was interred with due Masonic ceremonies.
10/8/1849 Lodge votes to procure a suitable tomb stone for Br. William Gallager who died August 25, 1849. "with the proper device engraved upon it."
12/23/1850 "Closed in love and harmony until the Monday preceeding the the next full moon." (Lemuel Cook sec.)
10/4/1852 Subscriptions toward the building of a monumental Masonic Temple at Fredericksburg to the memory of Br. George Washington were taken up from the members.
1/3/1853 Voted that the past masters jewel be cut on Barzallai Higgin's tombstone.
9/4/1853 News received pertaining to the death of Br. Caleb U. Grozier at Calcutta, India. His ship was seized by pirates and all crew members save one were murdered. Voted that the three burning tapers usually placed at the center of the room be spread without. Except on evenings of initiation.
10/2/1854 Proposal of John Lavender as a member of King Hiram's Lodge ballot is taken and he is declared rejected by a vote of D.D.G.M. Jeremiah Stone "from conscientious scruples" that the Lodge did not have a dispensation to proceed with the work.
12/18/1854 Sec. Arasmus Baker records presentation and acceptance speeches on occasion of awarding J.P. Johnson a Past Masters Jewel. (This Jewel is now in the collection of King Hiram's Lodge)
1/29/1855 Benjamin Allstrum is accepted as a candidate for initiation. (Owner of the Allstrum House, later named the Atlantic House.) Br. Phipps extends an invitation to the Lodge to attend his musical concert at Town Hall.
2/5/1855 Voted to provide a carriage to transport P.M. Allen Hinckley from Truro to the celebration of St. John's Day to be held on Feb. 22'nd, Washington's birthday.
2/8/1855 "The weather being very stormy and there being no candidates present the Lodge was closed in due form until next Monday at 6 1/2 o'clock." ( A. Baker sec.)
2/12/1855 A letter is received from Thomas Locker, purser of the Virgin Islands brig BAINBRIDGE informing the Lodge of the death of Br. Charles Stevens and some of his personal papers. Vote to adopt the new mode of balloting where the box is placed in the center of the room and each Brother to address the chair before balloting.
6/4/1855 Committee report into charges that Jeremiah Stone fraudulently affixed the name of a brother to a petition used by him to procure the appointment of D.D.G.M.. Committe also addresses charges that Stone made statements in open lodge injurious to the character of P.M. Godfrey Ryder and charges of being a disturbance to the wishes of the Bretheren of King Hiram's Lodge. The charges are all dismissed. Godfrey Ryder sends a communication to the Lodge further accusing Stone of recommending Lauren Young a candidate rejected for membership in King Hiram's Lodge on 6/5/1855 to MT. Tabor Lodge of East Boston as a candidate for their Lodge. He requests that Stone be expelled from membership and that he also be dealt with according to the laws of Grand Lodge. NOTES; Stone causes a disturbance at Lodge on 10/23/1848 causing Joseph P. Johnson to address the Lodge on "points of law and order at meetings". On 11/6/1848 Stone is appointed Chaplain, on 11/13 he resigns the position and is appointed Sr. Deacon. On 11/18/1850 Stone is elected Sr. Warden, he makes a motion that regular meetings be held on the first Monday of the month which is defeated. On 7/17/1851 Stone resigns as Sr. Warden when the question of "the legality or acknowledgement of his membership" is brought up. Lodge decides that he is not a member and a report is sent to Grand Lodge on 10/6/1851. On 10/20/1851 Stone having been appointed D.D.G.M. arrives at King Hiram's Lodge for a visitation. Godfrey Ryder acting master at this meeting, has Stone thrown out of the hall, after which Stone suspends King Hiram's Lodge "to await the pleasure of Grand Lodge" and Peter Dolliver is sent to Boston to ask for the appointment of a new D.D.G.M.. Letters and committees travel back and forth from the Lodge to Grand Lodge through 9/4/1854 when resolutions are adopted in the lodge apologizing to Stone and inviting him to unite with them at future meetings. Stone is tried on the charge of violating the laws of the Grand Constitution regarding Lauren Young on 7/2/1855. Stone admits guilt to the charges and asks that the question of his membership be put on hold, which is denied. A vote is put to the Lodge by calling the roll starting with the youngest member. Two members leave the lodge and two abstain from voting. Stone is found guilty and is expelled.
10/3/1855 Vote that fifty dollars be appropriated to establish a Masonic Library. Joseph P. Johnson is appointed to procure the same.
1/14/1856 Captain Edmund Burke of Truro is accepted as a candidate and receives degrees under dispensation.
2/11/1856 Captain James T. Sparks receives all three degrees in the same evening "as he thinks of leaving town in a few days."
5/5/1856 Br. Brown of Kentucky (member of King Hiram's Lodge) asks for aid in support of the Female College established by him there. The secretary is authorized to procure a note book for Lodge records "such as we now use increasing the number to eight. NOTES; These records are from the third book in the sequence the records end on Tuesday February 11'th 1835 and do not resume until Wednesday March 19, 1840. From there they proceed to November 23'rd 1846, these records would coincide with the years embracing the Morgan excitement 1826 through 1845. This entry in the records proves that K.H.Lodge met and that there were in existance five additional record books.
8/11/1856 Captain George Kelley of Truro is accepted. Kelley ships out aboard the 120 ton schooner ETTA G. FOGG on 5/11/1867 and is lost at sea on 9/16/1867. Captain Thompson and agents E. and E.H. Cook were all members of K.H. Lodge.
12/4/1856 Lodge met for the purpose of conferring the E.A. Degree on Captain Thomas S. Stevens but his ship had not arrived in town. He receives his E.A. and F.C. Degrees on 12/15/1856 at a special communication.
1/28/1857 Funeral of Rueben Goodspeed. Resolutions are presented by Joseph P. Johnson which are published in the Provincetown Banner. The Lodge also votes to pay all funeral expenses and appoints a committee to procure "a monument of suitable stones, and place them at the head of the grave. To mark the spot where our deceased brother is laid." NOTES; The resolutions are important to record as it alludes to the anti-masonic sentiment that was prevalent in Provincetown during the Morgan affair. Excerpts are as follows; He has stood by her (the lodge) through evil and good report; and in the troublesome times of antimasonic excitement, when many around him were bending to the blast of the whirlwinds of fanatical fury which was passing over them, he stood like the sturdy oak, unmoved and unwavering amid the storm. He has lived through the darkness of the night to see the sun of Masonry again arise in all its original splendor while others who sacrificed their principals and their honor before the morlock of an unrighteous and misguided public sentiment lived to receive the scorn of Masons and all honorable men. He has now gone to his rest a faithful Mason who we shall do well to imitate.
2/2/1857 Committee is appointed to take consideration of the propriety of building a Masonic Hall consists of G. Ryder, J.P. Johnson, L. Sellew, F.B. Tuck and C.A. Hannum.
2/23/1857 Lodge opens to celebrate Washington's birthday. Eben S. Smith is appointed toastmaster. Lodge marches in procession to the Pilgrim House where a dinner had been provided for the occasion.
3/9/1857 Voted that no smoking be allowed in or about the Lodge Room.
3/23/1857 D.D.G.M. Joseph P. Johnson calls a Lodge of Instruction.
4/20/1857 Special Communication to raise Capt. Joseph F. Baldwin to a Master Mason "as its expected that he will leave town soon." NOTES; Baldwin was the captain of the Provincetown built 92 ton schooner ALCYONE. His voyage of 10/20/1868 to 6/8/1871 is recorded in a book ADVENTURES OF THE WHALER ALCYONE, author D. Baker published in 1916. It was outfitted as a privateer off the african gold coast and one of its crew was swallowed by a whale. After firing his bomb lance into a sperm whale and everyone in the longboat assumed the whale was killed the crewmember struck the whale with his hand lance. The whale slapped its tail and crashed his lower jaw into the longboat causing the crewmember to fall forward, into the whales mouth. The whale closed its jaw catching him just below his knees. A sperm whale has teeth only in its lower jaw which fit into upper jaw sockets apparently there was enough room between the whales teeth and sockets to prevent his legs from being crushed. The whale sounded and the crewmembers body came to the surface and was taken aboard the ALCYONE. The agents for the vessel were Ephraim and Epaphras Kibby Cook, both members of K.H. Lodge. Starbucks History of Whaling records the ALCYONE returning to Provincetown in 1872 with returns of 235 sperm whale. It was next commanded by C. Ewell. The figurehead from the bow of the ALCYONE is now in the collection of Reginald Cabral along with the original ships logs.
4/20/1857 Communication received from Grand Lodge regarding the dedication of the statue of General Joseph D. Warren at Bunker Hill, Charlestown on June 17'th. Secretary is instructed to inform Grand Lodge of the number of Brothers who will be present.
7/1/1857 Visitation by the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts to the Lodge. (recorded as Br. Heard)
10/5/1857 A letter is sent to Grand Lodge informing them that John Pettengill a resident of Provincetown, received his degrees at Baalbec Lodge of East Boston without the consent of the officers of K.H. Lodge. and that the fees should be remitted to K.H. Lodge. NOTES; The policy at this time dictated that a man apply for admission to the lodge in the district in which he resided. This meant that anyone on Cape Cod west of Hyannis had to apply to King Hiram's Lodge. The other lodges having gone into darkness during the Morgan Affair. Due to the fact that the mariners of Cape Cod travelled to Boston often many of them received their degrees there, but before they would be accepted into K.H. Lodge they had to go through what was called a healing, where the fees for the degrees were remitted to the lodge and that they demitted from the lodge in which they were raised."and as in duty bound will ever pray." (G. Ryder)
Notes; Captain John Pettengil was master of the 115 ton schooner VIRGINIAN out of Orleans in 1852 and 1853 whaling in the north Atlantic. He was captain of the 86 ton schooner M.KING IN 1854, 1855 and 1856. Returning on the last voyage on June 16, 1857. He took command of the 132 ton schooner E. NICKERSON and sailed in August, Samuel Soper a member of KHL was the ships agent. The ship, Pettengil, his wife and two children were lost on that voyage. On May 3, 1858 the Lodge received 25.00 from Baalbec Lodge of E. Boston, the money is given to Elisha Cook to erect a "suitable monument to the death of his family."
10/26/1857 Meeting was called to confer the E.A. Degree on Captain Lincoln Cobb of Eastham after it was ascertained that his ship had not arrived from Boston Lodge was closed.
11/2/1857 Capt. Lincoln F. Cobb proposed and accepted.
9/6/1858 An announcement of the death of Capt. Elisha Paine of Truro on 5/30/1858 at Calcutta, India is made.
3/7/1859 Resolutions are adopted on the "supposed" death of Captain Andrew Williams. He was lost at sea aboard the schooner JAMES PORTER in the gale of October 23, 1858 off the Grand Banks, Newfoundland. His son is elected Master of King Hiram's Lodge In 1889.
3/28/1859 Captain William H. Law is proposed and accepted. He receives his degrees under dispensation in less time than the Grand Lodge requires as is common amongst most mariners who were accepted into the Lodge during this period. Freemasonry was very strong in the southern states, and application for membership increased, especially among mariners in the years prior to and during the Civil War believing their membership would afford their ships and crews some kind of protection from the Confederate cruisers. This evidently did not bear out as the statistics regarding the loss of Provincetown whaling vessels during the war was staggering.
2/6/1860 Announcement of the death of Captain Henry Paine at Ponrachee, India on 9/17/1859.
11/3/1860 Captain Joseph M. Farwell is accepted. Farwell is the captain of the 143 ton schooner MARY G. CURREN departing Provincetown 7/3/1866 on a whaling voyage. On May 14th of the following year he dies at sea, the ship returning on 6/3/1867 with 75 bbl sperm oil. The Lodge announces his death on the same day. His widow J.Ella Farwell leaves Provincetown on 9/2/1867. From the records of the following years the Lodge took care of her needs, including sending funds in gold and letters of exchange to a minister at St. Eustatius West Indies for the care of their daughter Josephine. She married P.M and D.D.G.M. Artemus P. Hannum. She is buried in the Hannum plot in the Gifford cemetary. The inscription reads J.Ella Farwell wife of Artemus P. 1848 - 1893.
11/19/1860 Captain Robert C. Soper is accepted.
2/16/1861 Past Master and Charter member Allen Hinkley dies at age 91.(Master 1802 - 1803) His letters and other personal papers are given to the Lodge and placed in the archives.
10/7/1861 George Shay mariner of Truro is accepted.
11/25/1861 Captain Hugh McKenzie is accepted.
2/24/1862 Captains John Smith and Hugh McFadden accepted.
4/30/1862 Funeral of Captain Jonathan Cook, Resolutions are adopted by the Lodge and sent to his wife Sabra on 5/6/1862. A framed copy hangs in the Lodge.
5/30/1862 A letter is read from Calvin Freeman of Provincetown aboard the 95 ton schooner ALLEGHANY with the details of the death of Capt. Daniel Cook at Fortescue Bay when the ship was attacked by natives. A copy of this letter was recovered in the Provincetown Town Hall Archives and is now in the collection of King Hiram's Lodge
9/1/1862 Capt. Walter B.Abbot is accepted.
10/6/1862 Capt. Elisha Burch (Birch) is accepted.
10/3/1862 Capt. William Matheson is accepted.
11/3/1862 Captain Joseph W. Goodspeed of Wellfleet is accepted. Farwell is the captain of the 108 ton schooner RIENZI, member Joshua Bowley agent in 1863 when it was captured and burned as part of the Northern whaling fleet off the Azores by Raphael Semmes captain of the C.S.S. ALABAMA. Goodspeed returns to Provincetown and is given command of the 200 ton bark F.BUNCHINIA which was built at New London again with Bowley as agent. He returns September 15, 1864 with 150bbl whale oil and 35bbl sperm oil and the ship is sold to Charlestown. He demits on 12/2/1867 to join the recently reopened Adams Lodge in Wellfleet.
12/30/1862 Lodge attends funeral of Francis B. Tuck master mariner who returned to Provincetown after farming out west. Tuck was captain of the F.BUNCHINIA in 1854 returning on May 9th of that year with 520bbl sperm oil, 29 bbl whale oil, and 229bbl humpback.
12/28/1863 Lodge receives a letter from Godfrey Ryder, serving in the Union Army in Tennessee. The letter is placed in the archives.
1/2/1865 Captain Samuel C. Small is accepted. Small was the captain of the 105 ton schooner WEATHER GAGE which was captured and burned by the C.S.S. ALABAMA in 1862. He died at Norfolk, Virginia on 3/15/1882.
2/11/1865 Joseph Caton applies for membership. Caton had been captain of the RIENZI in 1856 and was captain of the JOHN ADAMS when it was captured and burned by the rebel privateer CALHOUN in 1861. Formerly the tug boat W.H. WEBB of New York the CALHOUN was also responsible for the loss of the 158 ton ship MERMAID member Robert Soper captain, and the bark PARANA of Provincetown in 1861. The PARANA was captured 90 miles south of Belize and burned. Its cargo of 215bbl sperm oil was seized and its 63 member crew left in New Orleans. Caton was raised in another lodge and after an appeal by D.D.G.M. Joseph P.Johnson he was "healed" by King Hiram's Lodge and accepted as a member on 9/1/1873.
1/2/1865 Charles Baldwin makes a proposal to build a new lodge, which is seconded by Joseph P.Johnson.
5/1/1865 Resolutions adopted on the death of David A.Daniels who was lost at sea during passage from Philadelphia to Boston.
6/5/1865 Announcement of the death of Captain Jonathan Kilburn at the Isle of Sal on January 19, 1865. He was captain of the 132 ton schooner E.B.CONWELL which returned to Provincetown August 2, 1866 with 40bbl sperm oil and 180bbl whale.
12/3/1865 A petition is read from Masons in Wellfleet asking King Hiram's Lodge to recommend to the Grand Lodge that they establish a lodge in that town. (Re-open Adams Lodge) Jos. P. Johnson makes a motion that 125.00 be spent. "To procure a master's carpet, officers jewels and furniture to be presented to them." The motion is accepted and Elisha Smith is appointed a committee to procure same.
2/5/1866 A letter of thanks is received from Adams Lodge in receipt of the carpet, jewels and furniture. Signed by J.W. Davis, A.W. Hollower and George T. Wyer committee of Adams Lodge.
5/14/1866 Joseph F. Baldwin Secretary of the Lodge " Goes to sea." Saying he won't be back until October. He ships out on the 130 ton schooner ALCYONE, The first ship built by Bro. Joseph Whitcomb in Provincetown after his arrival from Yarmouth, Maine. It was commanded by Bro. William P. Hudson and owned by Bros. Ephraim and Epaphras Kibby Cook. The ALCYONE returned in September from a voyage in the Atlantic with 160 barrels of sperm oil, valued at 20,000.00.
1/7/1867 Xenophon Rich, Captain of the 100 ton schooner WINGED RACER owned by David Conwell is accepted.
"The First Hundred Years - Part II" from 1867 through 1896.
All the historical content in these pages researched and compiled by Wor. James J. Theriault, curator of King Hiram's Museum and lodge historian. Any comments concerning content may be sent to James J. Theriault, 541A Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601